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Battlemap : Dark Altar
Publisher: Christian Hollnbuchner
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/07/2014 10:13:54
Just the place for the final showdown with whatever bunch of fanatics worship here...

Much of the ancient temple appears to have fallen into disrepair, and there's some nasty unidentified oozey gunk all over the place, but the lights and cages suggest some deluded fools still come here to venerate whatever this altar is dedicated to... and who knows, they may even summon it up!

With an overview sketch that shows how the relief works, a series of pages to paste together or a zip file with a really big single-page version (word to the wise, the same name of 'nogrid-complete' is used for EVERY zip file this publisher releases, remember to change the name if you buy more than one or they'll overwrite previous ones when downloaded!) for those using a virtual table top or who have access to a poster-scale printer, you have all that you need to set the scene for a climactic battle! And it looks good too. In a creepy sort of way. Just the thing for the intended purpose.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap : Dark Altar
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Two Page Adventure - Joy in a Flask
Publisher: Genius Loci Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/07/2014 09:01:14
A beautifully-presented short adventure that involves the party arriving in a small settlement where most of the population is out of its gourd on a halluncinogenic drug. The head of the town watch, who still has his marbles, asks for help in finding the source of the drug and preventing its distribution... and the fun begins!

That fun includes tribes of lizardmen, an alien artefact and plenty of action.

There's an area map and a couple more detailed ones. You might be able to use the area map as a handout, the others give too much away although at least one of them has the 'hand-drawn' feel that would make it otherwise prime material for a handout.

The background, although pleasing to the eye, is a little fussy making some of the text hard to read. Fortunately only a word or two so you can get by. Personally I prefer portrait to landscape presentation, but if you intend to run it from a screen you can manage fine.

The adventure itself should keep a low-level party happily engaged for a session's play, it's the sort of thing to keep to hand to run at an appropriate moment. The inclusion of the alien artefact could lead to more, or be left as something mysterious, as suits your overall campaign. A neat little piece.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Two Page Adventure - Joy in a Flask
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you Very much for your review! I am in the process of updating the file to deal with the green splosh in question. I hope to have it fixed by the end of the week! Thanks again for the review, I\'m glad you liked it!
Flaws II
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/06/2014 10:11:23
Flaws are a neat tool to add dimension to a character which both grants mechanical benefits and provides a vehicle to enhance role-playing - and here is a whole bunch more of them to consider.

Some are based on the character's class, others are more personal flaws which anyone can take. Many provide ample opportunity for role-playing - Centre of Attention, perhaps, or Lovelorn. Others can be quite detrimental, like Cursed or Debtor.

The class-based ones are appropriate, from Druids who are wedded to an Ancient Orthodoxy that compels them to avoid metal items, Rangers afflicted with the Call of the Wild who find themselves fidgety and at a disadvantage in an urban setting, or even a Cleric who is a Heretic, not believing the orthodox 'truth' as preached by his religion.

Anyone might be Flirtacious or Competitive or downright Cruel...

A nice touch is that there is always a way to 'buy off' the flaw, generally by a combination of directed use of level-raise points and a spot of role-playing.

A neat collection to keep to hand when generating characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flaws II
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Bree Orlock Designs: Terror Rising
Publisher: Stardust Publications
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/03/2014 10:09:43
A beautiful close-up of a female face - but does she say 'Scared' to you?

I'm not sure. That finger-sucking pose is one I am told that is viewed as quite sexy, if in a somewhat sleazy way - without the caption of 'Terror Rising' I would probably have surmised it was a sketch of a sex worker.

Whatever, it is a strong image. Perhaps she's worried - some people gnaw their fingers when concerned. It is quite haunting, too. What has she seen or heard?

This one isn't likely to make a character portrait, but it could be someone spotted peering out of a window who gives a clue as to whatever it is that the party is in search of...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bree Orlock Designs: Terror Rising
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Extraction with Extreme Prejudice
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2014 08:58:41
This is a neat and complex Cyberpunk-style adventure written using the Savage Worlds ruleset in Gun Metal Games's Interface Zero setting. On the face of it, the task facing the party is simple: a corporate extraction. Naturally, however, things are never as simple as they seem.

The adventure starts with the all-important matter of negotiating the deal for the job. There's plenty of detail, including notes for how to deal with a reluctant party, as well as all the answers to the questions that the party ought to be asking if they are serious about taking the job. Then, after a counter-offer or two, it's off to conduct the extraction.

Mechanics are handled neatly, with a nice conceit that everything should start off going swimmingly (even if you have to fudge the odd die roll) and go progressively wrong as the mission develops. Another nice touch is that the final act of the adventure is a multi-option set of consequences based on whatever the party has decided to do to date: every choice has, of course, associated consequences and each will have annoyed somebody...

As the adventure includes the use of a safe house (one being provided if the party doesn't have its own), there is a rather useful appendix covering the setting up and maintaining of safe houses, well worth a look if you think it is something your characters will find useful.

A cracking little adventure nicely put together. Enjoy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Extraction with Extreme Prejudice
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FT - Silvantri
Publisher: Adventures in Filbar
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2014 11:28:39
An elf village ought to feel a bit different from a human one, and Silvantri manages that well. Built deep in a forest with much far overhead linked by aerial walkways, some elves rarely come to ground at all. Others use elevators to get foodstuffs to the heights (and at least one drunk dwarf, the village blacksmith, back home after an evening's drinking). Originally built thus to keep elves safe from other humanoids using the forest, they have kept it that way because they like it and are used to it.

The population is almost completely elven, with a few others mostly accepted (one or two elves would rather they were not there) into the community, mostly retired adventurers from a party including a resident of the village who returned home. Magic abounds, and there's a couple of good inns. Several of the elves trade in textiles and leatherwork, there's excellent wine made and one inn's specialty is rhubarb pie! There's a fine library, and some rather good bakers... heck, I think I'll move there.

The product rounds off with a map, menus for both inns and several images of this wonderful setting. It would be a nice place to come across in your travels, but mind your manners. Elves won't stand any nonsense.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FT - Silvantri
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Ship Book:Lune Class Freelancer
Publisher: Moon Toad Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2014 12:49:22
Here is presented a nice neat vessel that seems custom-designed for a group of player-characters roaming the black in search of adventure.

The Lune Class Freelancer is indeed designed for small groups of people for whom mobility is important. It's Jump 3 and has a small amount of cargo space; probably better as a courier than as a trader.

What is rather nice is a selection of 'well-known' vessels of this class, complete with illustration (showing the external colourscheme - mostly very colourful) and brief description of what that particular ship's owners have done with it - one's a casino, with the cargo bay tricked out for gaming, another belongs to a pirate band and has a 'breaching airlock' fitted, several have been converted to troop carrying and so on. Several of these variants feature in the collection of 'starship record sheets' provided at the end of the work.

There's also a nice guided tour, a verbal discription of what you'd see were someone to show you round a Lune Class. That gives a nice feel for the ship, and can be used in conjunction with the deckplans to describe it to the party.

After several external views and the deckplans, also a nice picture of one sitting on the ground at a starport, there's a complete rundown of the history and current crew of the Lune Star, as an example of one in service. More deckplans - including several of the common variant configurations - and even full details of the standard launch (and variants) make this a complete introduction to a very useful starship.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ship Book:Lune Class Freelancer
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The Brewmaster: Life of the Party
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2014 11:24:38
I'm not quite sure if this is a joke or serious. Yes, brewing was an important aspect of mediaeval life (and still is today...) but does it need a complete levelled class of its own? It's more likely that brewers would settle somewhere and, well, brew than go adventuring. On the other hand, if you like your game to be a microcosm of an alternate reality, then it is as likely that a brewer might be around - especially if you are running urban adventures or indeed ones based in any single locality - and get involved in whatever plot is going on.

Then we get onto the class features... and there's a whole bunch of information about the brewing process, in excruciating detail. OK. If we are going to have a player-character brewer, he's going to want to conjure up the odd keg of ale; and if he settles to brewing we'll need to know how well that batch of ale turned out... but isn't that what the Craft skills were invented to deal with? It all gets rather dizzying with the brewer learning about new sugars, additives and clarifiers as he rises in level...

The saving grace comes right at the end, when you've waded through the brewing process itself, an assortment of feats and other odds and ends we actually reach a list of additives, sugars and clarifiers. If you want to get down to this level of detail, you can then start designing your own ales, ones that have game mechanical effects over and above the obvious one of getting the characters who drink it inebriated.

You either like the idea of all this detail, or you think it is liable to bog everything down whilst conferring only minimal added flavour to your game. I imagine brewmasters will be popular anywhere there are dwarves, however.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Brewmaster: Life of the Party
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Publisher Reply:
Hi there, Megan. The central pillar of the brewmaster went through six redesigns in about two days. You see, I went out and asked people what they would want for such a class. While some of my repeat customers looked at it strangely and said a class that made \"playing the drunk\" easier was not appreciated, others saw a system for making magic food and tried to have me construct a general case: magical bread, magical jars of pickles, magical jams, bread golems, etc. etc. Apparently, the battle baker, as well as other food-producing themes, is severely under-represented. Anyway, in the end, I had to scrap the idea of a general case because all of the other instructions from the community clashed horribly with that general case, particularly the bit about no spell levels attached to ingredients. I couldn\'t imagine the psion and the psychic warrior existing side-by-side without points and levels. Given that simplification here, the general case became a near-impossibility. So, no, this is not a joke, but is rather a totally serious experiment of sorts. I had never received as many desires from my customer base before, so I built a class that contained the most important mechanical crunch thing to each of them. As it turns out, the people who deigned to respond liked complexity - and I, as it turns out, like making the stuff. -Brad
Wondrous Items 2: Helmets & Shields from Monster Hides
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2014 13:29:05
Whether you are after a unique item for your combat wardrobe, want to know just what to do with the remains of the last creature you slew or have designs on a profitable sideline selling helmets and shields, this might prove of interest.

First up we get straight to the bottom line: how much do monster hide helmets and shields cost? Important for both buyer and seller, or even if you are finding the raw materials and want to know how much to charge the craftsman who wants them. Or of course, if you are dividing the spoils of an adventure and include stuff you can make helmets and shields out of.

Next are three feats: Monstrous Aspect, Taxidermic Crafter and Terrifying Trophy. Interestingly, only Taxidermic Crafter is for the would-be craftsman, the other two are for people who choose to wear items made from monster bits, enabling them to draw on them to gain special powers. This might at least get some people think about getting such items...

The next section looks at different kinds of helmets and what you need to make them. A few completely developed examples are given, but the main strength is giving you the tools (game mechanical tools I mean, not craft ones!) to design and make a helmet out of whatever monster parts you can obtain, and deduce appropriate special properties or characteristics. Finally, shields get the same treatment.

Perhaps this is a rather specialist niche area. Many characters won't be particularly interested. But even if they don't want to start crafting or commissioning monster hide helmets and shields, they could make interesting items to fill out a treasure horde.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wondrous Items 2: Helmets & Shields from Monster Hides
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A Little Adventure
Publisher: Aegis Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2014 12:19:35
This presents a useful NPC for any GM to have to hand: a sassy pixie information broker (and treasure hunter./thief) called Devlin Chaplain. In it, you get her full character sheet and background details (along with a charming portrait by Sade), and some delightful extras.

Well, she is a treasure hunter, after all. So here are four magical items that she has, or had at some time. Or might have sometime in the future. Each has not just its full details, stats and an illustration, there is also an adventure seed associated with each one. The items are a Mobile Hide-Site Rifle, a really neat bit of kit if you are a sniper; Nancy's Necklace of Not-so-smallness (which for most people makes them grow to giant size, if you start off pixie-sized you reach medium!); the Ring of Assassin's Advantage and the Vision Pipe. Most of the adventure seeds involve the theft of the item in question, either by Devlin or from her.

There's also a couple of size-related spells: Enlarge and Shrink.

Just a neat little collection that brings something quite fantastical into your campaign world.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Little Adventure
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed A Little Adventure!
Foreven Worlds: Fessor Subsector (Traveller)
Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/25/2014 12:13:38
New worlds to explore is what Traveller is all about - and here is an area with considerable scope, as much is not aligned with the big power blocs (Imperium, Zhodani, etc) and parts even unexplored... territory your party might put their own stamp on, maybe even establishing their own government.

Most of the worlds in Fessor Subsector either stand alone or as part of small multi-world states, with many regimes being noted for their tendency to be led by warlords or dictators rather than public servants in office for the good of their citizens. Other worlds began as colonies of like-minded folk seeking freedom (perhaps to practice a particular way of life) and some have even retained that spirit. Others were sponsored by corporations, content provided a regular supply of whatever resource sent them there in the first place is maintained.

As well as a formal UPP, each world gets a write-up of several paragraphs that gives a summary overview of what that planet is like. Whist short, these pen-pictures give a good feel of the overall picture at an appropriate level for a visitor to the planet - and should provide plenty of ideas for inventive referees should the party decide to go there.

A nice part of the universe to visit, scope for adventure without being the sort of place nobody in their right mind would visit. Oh, and they have pirates, too!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Foreven Worlds: Fessor Subsector (Traveller)
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Demoncall Pit
Publisher: Gaming Paper
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2014 12:06:12
A compelling backstory launches an epic adventure in which the party is called upon to stem an influx of demons called up by a ritual spoken of in prophecy... what is there not to like?

There are suggestions as to how to get the characters involved, and a wealth of notes to help you run the adventure effectively - especially as clue-finding and puzzle-solving are inherent to the plot and not all groups favour such things, or find solving puzzles easy. Ways to make this work with the group you have - after all, you know them and their preferences! - are given, select the route that suits the folk at your table.

But fear not, there is plenty of demon-slaying, undead to turn or otherwise defeat and treasure to grab so whether or not your party likes puzzles they will have plenty to deal with.

Basically, the adventure involves the characters advancing on a crypt out of which demons are already streaming, with the intent of doing something about it. Simple, yet challenging. It's all go from the outset, supported by an extensive map and concise but evocative descriptions. Notes continue the introductory theme, providing information on how to cope with whatever the party throws at you. Players being players, they WILL come up with something you haven't thought of, but used carefully the information provided will enable you to cope, and cope well (especially if you are well-prepared and know the module well in advance!).

As you can imagine with demons streaming forth, the consequences of both success and failure are going to be quite critical as far as the world is concerned. Four possible outcomes are discussed, one of which involves the party visiting the Abyss (and yet again, it's explained how to manage that, if you are even willing to run such an excursion). Overall, a well-contrived and exciting adventure presented a good challenge to an organised and competent party. Enjoy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demoncall Pit
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Fate+Fiction: Semper Fidelis (Fate RPG)
Publisher: Asparagus Jumpsuit
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2014 10:38:06
This is extremely thought provoking... and what really makes you think is not the overt concept of a piece of fiction and the role-playing snippets you can extract from it, but the underlying thought-processes of how to look at something you read and glean it clean for role-playing ideas.

Now, this is something that I have been doing ever since I started role-playing, a mere couple of years before the author did, but he explains it so well, breaking it down and relating the elements to different aspects of the game system of choice (here, of course, the FATE system).

The story itself is but an hundred words or so. It would be easy to dismiss it as holding little for a role-player to grab hold of... but you'd be wrong. Just a few words can contain a lot if you look at them in the right way, and here you are shown how.

I'd recommend you to buy this, but it's free! No reason at all not to pick it up and read it through.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate+Fiction: Semper Fidelis (Fate RPG)
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Mythic Mastery: Mythic Curses
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2014 12:40:09
Curses can be rather fun... well, not if you are on the receiving end. But in terms of interesting events, a curse can be a powerful plot driver, although hitherto, game mechanics have not supported curses well despite their role-playing potential.

Here is an attempt to redress this, by making curses more interesting mechanically. Basically, curses are treated as intelligent entities capable of employing various powers each day against the luckless soul who is cursed. Each curse has a set of 'moral axioms', a code of behaviour which it wishes to impose on the victim and it uses its powers to modify the victim's behaviour by a mechanism whereby it is granted extra ones if the victim does not conform! The fun bit is that the character afflicted may have no idea, at least at first, what moral axioms the curse has.

To throw off a curse, the victim may seek magical help or attempt more exotic methods such as following the curse's moral axioms to such an extent that it no longer has effect. Also, each curse designed using this system will have a method for removal included - again, not something the victim will be privy to.

Five mythic curses are provided as examples, which may be used as presented or as a basis for your own designs. These curses - Ageing, Babble, Gender Reversal, Ill Fortune and Petrification - do not come with their own moral axioms, however a list of suitable ones is provided so you may add whichever you feel are appropriate. These can involve things like controlling fear or your temper, displaying generousity or even avoiding drunkenness. Interestingly, the moral axioms presented are all good things. It's entirely likely that a curse bestowed by an evil creature may have a more malign influence!

Finally, if you decide to let characters bestow curses as well as suffer them, there is a Mythic Curse feat that the would-be curser can take.

Altogether interesting, and certainly making curses more exciting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Mastery: Mythic Curses
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City of Shiran E14: Bull Ring Tavern
Publisher: Columbia Games Inc.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2014 10:47:16
This nice little write-up describes a tavern in the City of Shiran. As always, it is embedded beautifully into the setting, with little details that bring it to life and a few adventure hooks thrown in.

This is no ordinary tavern. It lurks unmarked in the cellars of a warehouse, but is popular with local working folk and with members of the nobility who have a taste for low-life and blood sports for the Bull Ring boasts a combat arena in which dogs, rats, cocks, badgers and men fight. Fighters can make good money, if they survive victorious, and of course betting on the outcome thrives.

The normal residents of the building sound decidely unpleasant types, indeed the entire tavern is ripe for clearing out by decent and upstanding citizens. If your party, however, has more disreputable tastes they may find it a suitable watering hole and a place to make useful contacts.

There is a page of descriptive material about the tavern and what transpires there, floorplans and room descriptions and four hooks to get the party involved with the place.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Shiran E14: Bull Ring Tavern
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